Tag: Moral Philosophy


A Buddha Land in This World (New Book)

My new book, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy, Utopia, and Radical Buddhism, has just been published. Here is the abstract/back cover blurb: In the early twentieth century, Uchiyama Gudō, Seno’o Girō, Lin Qiuwu, and others advocated a Buddhism that was radical in two respects. Firstly, they adopted a more or less naturalist stance with respect to Buddhist doctrine and related matters, rejecting karma or other supernatural beliefs. And secondly, they held political and economic views that were radically anti-hegemonic, anti-capitalist, and revolutionary. Taking the idea of such a “radical Buddhism” seriously, A Buddha Land in This World: Philosophy,...

On the Idea of an Unconditional (Moral) Rule

In his Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Kant argued that the moral law (assuming there is one) must be unconditional and universal. As part of that argument he made a famous distinction between categorical and hypothetical imperatives. Imperatives are “ought” (or “should”) statements, such as “you ought to tell the truth”. The difference between the two kinds of imperatives is that hypothetical imperatives depend on a specific kind of condition, namely a desire, while categorical imperatives are universal, unconditional, and absolute. Thus, “if you want human civilization to survive the 21st century, you ought to eat the rich” is...

Dao and Second-Order Consequentialism

After king You of Zhou fell in love with Bao Si he exiled his wife, Queen Shen. The disgraced Shen family retaliated in 771 BCE by attacking and killing king You. The Zhou dynasty never recovered – although nominally it remained in power for another five centuries, this period was characterized by failing authority and nearly continuous war. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was also the most fruitful period in the intellectual history of China and is commonly recognized as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy. Confucius, Mencius, Mozi, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Xunzi, and many other of China’s most famous philosophers lived...